Public Safety on the Forefront

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Public safety has been on the forefront of my mind lately as I have seen gas stations around the state continuing to hawk synthetic marijuana and other newly-created drugs that are a menace to our children and, unfortunately, difficult to regulate as they keep appearing in new forms.

Currently, more than 100 synthetic marijuana drugs have been identified and some are 100 to 800 times more potent than most forms of marijuana sold illegally in the state.

Senate Bill 619 is currently available for a hearing on the House floor. The legislation is an effort to go after those businesses that continue to sell synthetic drugs to our children and families. The bill would revoke a store’s license to sell tobacco if it was associated with a felony conviction under the Controlled and Dangerous Substance Act.

Child abuse is another public safety problem that plagues our state. In 2011, 41 children in Oklahoma died due to child abuse. On April 8th, I had the opportunity to participate in a child abuse awareness event and seeing all the flags flown for those fallen children who died due to child abuse was just heartbreaking. In a previous column, I noted that lawmakers have thus far supported Senate Bill 639, which will create a special child abuse response team under the Oklahoma State Burea of Investigation. This will be a critical tool to try and reduce child abuse in the state.

Drug dealers and child abusers are a moving target for law enforcement and prosecutors. There will always be new tactics to get around current laws. For this reason, lawmakers must continue to provide new tools to combat drugs and child abuse in the state.

I look forward to telling you more about legislative progress in April. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at (405) 557-7407 or emails me at mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

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